29 March 2011 — Stop NATO
- NATO Conducts More Air Strikes West Of Libyan Capital
- NATO Bombs Libya With Depleted Uranium Warheads
- More Countries Slam NATO Attacks In Libya
- U.S., Britain, France, Germany: NATO Quad Heads Of State Hold Libya Talks
- U.S. Low-Flying Attack Planes Intervene In Libyan Ground War
- NATO Official: Regime Change Is Goal, Even If UN Resolution Doesn’t Say So
- Shadow NATO Member Sweden Offers Eight Warplanes For Libyan War
- Canadian Warplanes Join NATO Bombing Frenzy In Libya
- After Afghan, Iraqi Wars: U.S. To Use Romania Air Base For Libyan War
- Joschka Fischer Excoriates Berlin For Not Plunging Into Libyan War
- NATO’s “International” Partner: UAE Warplanes In Italy For Libya War
- Libya And The “International Community”: Humanitarian Imperialism, Like Colonialism, Will Come To An End
NATO Conducts More Air Strikes West Of Libyan Capital
Voice of Russia
March 29, 2011
More Coalition airstrikes on Libya
The Western coalition has delivered more airstrikes at targets west of Tripoli. This comes in reports by the Arab TV channels Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, although they fail to specify the facilities destroyed.
Meanwhile US President Barack Obama rejected, in his address to the nation, the use of force to topple the Gaddafi regime in Libya, but admitted that the coalition did manage to check the advance of Gaddafi troops against the rebels.
Russia said earlier that the West’s interference in Libya’s civil war has gone beyond the framework of the relevant UN Security Council resolution.
NATO Bombs Libya With Depleted Uranium Warheads
March 28, 2011
NATO Bombs Libya with Depleted Uranium Warheads
London: Planes of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) launched about 45 bombs with depleted uranium warheads in the start of attacks against Libya, an anti-war intellectual activist announced.
David Wilson, an expert of the Stop the War Coalition in Britain, indicated that the enormous bombs, of about 907 kg each, and the missiles launched from allied ships contained the highly harmful radioactive mineral.
This type of armament, with depleted uranium warheads, “is the perfect weapon to kill a lot of people,” he warned, quoting a US expert in physical chemistry.
The radioactive substance, contained in the black dust that emanates to the atmosphere after the explosion, can harm the kidneys and cause lung and bone cancers, skin disorders, neuro-cognitive disorders, chromosome damage, immunodeficiency syndromes and kidney and intestinal diseases.
Who and what are they protecting this time in Libya?, he wondered, as he recalled attacks against Baghdad, after which radiation levels exceeded between 1,000 and 1,900 times normal levels in residential areas, and recalled remarks made by British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who referred to the alleged humanitarian NATO mission in Libya “to protect civilians and their residential areas.”
More Countries Slam NATO Attacks In Libya
March 29, 2011
More countries slam NATO action in Libya
US President Barak Obama has defended his decision to involve the US in the Libyan conflict. Ten days after the international community intervened, President Obama used the prime time speech to answer his critics and explain his case. The speech came as Russia and Indonesia called for an immediate ceasefire and Turkey offered to act as mediator.
Correspondent: Karon Snowdon
SNOWDON: Public support is the lowest ever for a military intervention by the US, Professor James Fallows from the US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney told Mark Colvin.
FALLOWS: If it becomes a matter of the three wars, the US is in, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, then the more that’s the case, then the worse it is politically, for Barack Obama because essentially there is for good reason, there’s no appetite for yet another war in the Muslim world or elsewhere, from the American public.
SNOWDON: Looking to the future, 35 governments and international organisations are meeting in London to try to lay the groundwork for a Libya without Muammar Gaddafi. It’s to be attended by members of the Libyan opposition but no representative from the government.
Speaking in Tripoli, the Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim again accused the international force of being responsible for civilian casualties.
KHALED KAIM: (translation) I would like especially to call upon the American President, Barack Obama, and all the other western leaders to be peace-makers, not war-mongers, and not to push Libyans towards a civil war.
SNOWDON: The international airstrikes have allowed the rebels to push back Libyan forces and have possibly turned the tide in their favour. They’re now eager to take Sirte the hometown of Colonel Gadaffi. If successful, it would be a powerful symbolic defeat that might undermine support for Gadaffi elsewhere.
Support for the NATO strikes though isn’t universal.
Russia and Indonesia are calling for an immedicate ceasefire. Concern over civilian casualties, the level of which is almost impossible to verify, is says Russia, the reason behind its call for a ceasefire.
The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the mission has gone far beyond the U-N mandate.
LAVROV: (translation) Reports are coming in about strikes being inflicted by coalition aircraft on lines of Gadaffi’s troops – reports about support for the attacks of the armed rebels. There is a need to negotiate, this requires an immediate ceasefire.
SNOWDON: Indonesia too is increasing its efforts for a ceasefire.
The Jakarta Post reports its lobbied Latin American states and India to jointly send a letter to the UN calling for a cease-fire and to promote a political settlement
Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa reportedly told the media any violence puts civilians in danger. Attempts to speak to a Foreign ministry spokesman were not successful.
U.S., Britain, France, Germany: NATO Quad Heads Of State Hold Libya Talks
March 29, 2011
US, French, British, German leaders hold Libya talks
PARIS: The leaders of Britain, France, Germany and the United States Monday discussed NATO’s takeover of operations in Libya and voiced support for a conference on the country’s future, the French presidency said.
US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke during a video conference that also touched on reforms in Egypt and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the French president’s office said in a statement.
The four leaders discussed “the Libyan situation and the implementation of resolution 1973 the day after the transfer by the United States of the conduct of operations to NATO ,” the statement said.
“They also expressed their support for the conference taking place tomorrow (Tuesday) March 29 in London which should bring together the international community in support of the political transition in Libya,” it said.
The talks also focused on “support for the transition process in Egypt and the need to relaunch the Israeli-Palestinian negotiation process,” it said.
More than 35 countries will attend the conference in London on Tuesday to map out a future for Libya.
A spokesman for Cameron’s office said the British leader had told his counterparts that the conference should “strengthen and broaden the coalition of countries committed to implementing the UN resolutions” on Libya.
U.S. Low-Flying Attack Planes Intervene In Libyan Ground War
March 28, 2011
U.S. deploys low-flying attack planes in Libya
By Greg Jaffe and Karen DeYoung
-Military officials consider AC-130s and A-10s well suited to attacks in built-up areas, although they…has been criticized as indiscriminate in past wars. The gunships, developed from a Hercules C-130 transport plane for use in Vietnam, have been used in virtually every U.S. military combat operation since then, including Grenada, Panama, Bosnia and Kosovo, as well as Iraq and Afghanistan.
The U.S. military dramatically stepped up its assault on Libyan government ground forces this weekend, launching its first attacks with AC-130 flying gunships and A-10 attack aircraft, which are designed to strike enemy ground troops and supply convoys, according to senior U.S. military officials.
Their use, during several days of heavy fighting in which the momentum seemed to swing in favor of the rebels, demonstrated how allied military forces have been drawn deeper into the chaotic fight in Libya. A mission that initially seemed to revolve around establishing a no-fly zone has become focused on halting advances by ground forces in and around Libya’s key coastal cities.
The AC-130s, which fly low and slow over the battlefield and are typically more vulnerable to enemy fire than fast-moving fighter jets, were deployed only after a week of sustained coalition attacks on Libyan government air defenses and radar. Armed with heavy machine guns and cannons that rake the ground, they allow strikes on dug-in Libyan ground forces and convoys in closer proximity to civilians.
Their use in Libya could be “a significant game changer,” said a senior military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive military operations.
Military officials consider AC-130s and A-10s well suited to attacks in built-up areas, although they pose more risk for pilots and their lethality has been criticized as indiscriminate in past wars. The gunships, developed from a Hercules C-130 transport plane for use in Vietnam, have been used in virtually every U.S. military combat operation since then, including Grenada, Panama, Bosnia and Kosovo, as well as Iraq and Afghanistan.
AC-130s were used to great effect during both of the U.S. attacks into Fallujah…in the early days of the Iraq war. In Afghanistan, the military considers them a particularly effective weapon against dug-in militants and commanders have frequently complained that they are in too short supply.
In Libya, “we are determined to step up the mission, to attack his tanks and [troop] columns every day until he withdraws,” a French official said of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi and the forces loyal to him.
The AC-130s, which are flying from a base in Italy, were requested by Gen. Carter Ham, the senior American general overseeing the battle, and are likely to continue flying over Libya in the coming days as allied forces attempt to increase the pressure on Gaddafi’s ground forces…
In response to the rebel advance Gaddafi’s ground troops appear to be digging in and moving tanks into the cities of Zintan and Sirte.
Meanwhile, the U.S., Britain and France were making their own preparations for stopping a ground assault by Libyan forces. There was little support within Obama’s national security team for a mission that revolved solely around a no-fly zone seen as likely to do too little…
Pushed by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and U. N. Ambassador Susan Rice, the administration took control of a British-French draft resolution for a no-fly zone that had been languishing at the U.N., worked with them to strengthen it and began making the case to the rest of the Security Council that stronger action was needed. The resolution passed on March 17, authorizing the use of “all necessary measures” to protect civilians and civilian areas under threat.
NATO Official: Regime Change Is Goal, Even If UN Resolution Doesn’t Say So
March 29, 2011
NATO Allies Look to Tripoli to Topple Qaddafi in Libyan Endgame
By Leon Mangasarian
The U.K. and France are banking on Libyans in the capital Tripoli to give them an exit strategy as they try to work out how to topple Muammar Qaddafi.
With the rebels advancing on Qaddafi’s hometown of Sirte, about 570 kilometers (355 miles) from their Benghazi base, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron are exhorting Libyan officials to undermine the regime from within.
“Ideally, everybody wants the Libyan rebels to topple Qaddafi in Tripoli,” said Florence Gaub, a North Africa expert at the NATO Defense College in Rome. “Regime change is what it’s all about, even if the UN resolution doesn’t say this.”
“There are two options: either Qaddafi leaves the country or is killed,” said Mats Berdal, a professor in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London. “And he’s not likely to leave Libya.”
Shadow NATO Member Sweden Offers Eight Warplanes For Libyan War
March 29, 2011
Sweden plans to join Libya no-fly zone with fighter jets, but no ground attacks
-Sweden is not a member of NATO but has contributed ground forces to NATO-led operations in Afghanistan and the Balkans.
STOCKHOLM: Sweden plans to send up to eight fighter jets to help enforce the U.N.-mandated no-fly zone over Libya after receiving a request for assistance from NATO, the prime minister said Tuesday.
The Swedish offer also includes a transport plane and 130 personnel and will be made available for three months, Reinfeldt told lawmakers…
Veronika Wand-Danielsson, Sweden’s ambassador to NATO, told AP that alliance chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen made an informal request last week to Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt about contributing to the operation.
With a long tradition of neutrality in war, Sweden is not a member of NATO but has contributed ground forces to NATO-led operations in Afghanistan and the Balkans.
Canadian Warplanes Join NATO Bombing Frenzy In Libya
March 28, 2011
Canadian jets bomb second Libyan ammo dump; take greater role in air war
By: Murray Brewster
OTTAWA: Canadian CF-18s flattened an ammunition depot and have co-ordinated other coalition air raids over Libya involving up to 20 warplanes, the military confirmed Monday.
A reinforced bunker, 92 kilometres south of the battered city of Misrata, was hit with 225-kilogram, laser-guided bombs. It was the second ammunition dump taken out by the Canadian air contingent in a week.
Four Hornet jetfighters from 425 Squadron out of Bagotville, Que., took part in the Sunday raid.
[Lt.-Col. Chris] Lemay could not provide details about targets hit by other coalition aircraft, only that the missions were planned and co-ordinated by the Canadian air group operating out of Trapani, Italy.
The increased planning responsibility reflects Ottawa’s deeper involvement in the crisis following the appointment Friday of Canadian Lt.-Gen. Charles Bouchard as the NATO joint task force commander for the Libyan campaign.
There are seven CF-18s deployed as part of the international air effort.
One of two CP-140 maritime surveillance planes which were dispatched last week by the Harper government to enforce the UN arms embargo against Moammar Gadhafi’s regime, flew its first long-range patrol mission without incident on Monday.
The military, which had provided daily Ottawa briefings on the Libyan campaign, said it would no longer give regularly scheduled updates on combat operations.
Information on Canada’s involvement in the bombardment of Libya would be dished out on a need-to-know basis, said a Defence Department spokesman, who was authorized to speak on background only.
Routine information would be posted to the department’s web site and intermittent technical briefings would be held only in the event of major developments, the spokesman added.
The tightening of information on the war also came as some defence observers, notably retired general Lewis MacKenzie, questioned how the mission is evolving and whether the coalition is exceeding its mandate by attacking Libyan military targets that did not present a direct a threat to civilians.
NATO took formal control of the no-fly zone and the naval arms blockade…
After Afghan, Iraqi Wars: U.S. To Use Romania Air Base For Libyan War
Xinhua News Agency
March 29, 2011
Romania’s top defense council OKs U.S. aircraft to refuel in territory
BUCHAREST: Romania’s Supreme Council for National Defense (CSAT) Monday decided
to allow the refueling on its aerodromes of the U.S. military aircraft used in Libya mission.
According to a press release of Romania’s Presidential administration, the CSAT has favorably replied to Washinton’s request on the basis of the Strategic Partnership between the two countries.
Currently, there are four U.S. military bases in southeastern Romania, including the Mihail Kogalniceanu air base, which has been heavily used by the United States to transport troops and equipment for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
A week ago, the same council decided to send a frigate carrying 207 Navy soldiers and officers to help enforce the embargo against Libya in the Mediterranean Sea.
Joschka Fischer Excoriates Berlin For Not Plunging Into Libyan War
March 29, 2011
Wrong German foreign policy
By Joschka Fischer
-Like the Balkans, the far shores of the Mediterranean are part of the EU’s immediate security zone.
-Germany seems to be congealing into an introspective provincialism, and that at a time when its potential, its leadership even, are more urgently needed than ever.
BERLIN: German chancellor Angela Merkel likes to navigate politically by line of sight ? and a very short line of sight at that. But when fog clouds your visibility, you’re not an instinctive driver (as seems to be the case here), and you have misplaced your eyeglasses, you place not only yourself at peril, but others as well.
That scenario sums up Germany’s foreign policy on Libya. The ensuing damage for Germany and its international standing is plain to see: never has Germany been more isolated. The country has lost its credibility with the United Nations and in the Middle East; its claim to a permanent seat on the Security Council has just been trashed for good; and one really must fear the worst for Europe.
And that will not be forgotten in the region, in the U.N., or among Germany’s friends.
All I can say is that I feel ashamed for this failure of the German government and ? unfortunately ? also for the leaders of the red and green opposition parties who at first applauded this scandalous mistake!
I don’t know what Germany’s foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, could have been thinking. He rightly sided with the Arab freedom movements, then ? when the matter was decided ? traveled to Cairo’s Tahrir Square to receive his applause, and then rightly called for Moammar Gadhafi’s overthrow and his rendition to the International Criminal Court, only to chicken out when it came to the Security Council vote. The rationale has nothing to do with an ethical foreign policy or with German and European interests.
The situation in Libya, we are told, is too dangerous; Germany’s government doesn’t want to get caught on a slippery slope and eventually have to commit ground troops in a civil war. Well, if you’re afraid of slippery slopes, stay out of government, because balancing on all sorts of slippery slopes is what the job is about.
Libya is neither Afghanistan nor Iraq. Germany and other European countries went to Afghanistan in solidarity with a NATO partner ? our most important security guarantor, the United States ? after it had been attacked from there on Sept. 11, 2001. And solidarity within NATO ? a term all but shunned these days in official German circles ? is mutual: left to its own devices, Germany could one day wake up in a very precarious situation.
And Libya is certainly not Iraq, either, where the dominant Western power, the U.S., started a war for ideological reasons and against the majority of the Security Council, a war that that had to ? and did ? end in disaster.
If anything, Libya probably should be compared to Bosnia. It looks as if Merkel’s government today has adopted the position of Germany’s Greens back then! But, while the rejection of humanitarian military intervention had an element of tragedy in that case, Germany’s behavior today is pure farce.
Like the Balkans, the far shores of the Mediterranean are part of the EU’s immediate security zone. It is naive to assume that the most populous EU member state could and should keep out of a crisis situation in a region with immediate manifold European and German security interests…
And if you view Germany’s behavior in respect to Libya in connection with its whining and dithering regarding the consequences for Europe of the financial crisis, you can’t but start worrying about the future of both Europe and NATO. Germany seems to be congealing into an introspective provincialism, and that at a time when its potential, its leadership even, are more urgently needed than ever. Unfortunately, you can forget about that.
Joschka Fischer, Germany’s foreign minister and vice-chancellor from 1998 to 2005, was a leader in the German Green Party for almost 20 years.
NATO’s “International” Partner: UAE Warplanes In Italy For Libya War
The National (United Arab Emirates)
March 29, 2011
UAE warplanes in Sardinia ahead of dispatch to Libya
ABU DHABI: UAE fighter jets due to help patrol the Libyan no-fly zone began arriving in Sardinia on Sunday.
The Emirates pledged six F-16s and six Mirage warplanes to the coalition, although it is not yet known when they will begin flight operations over the North African nation.
The UAE and Qatar are the only Arab countries to join the coalition with warplanes in patrolling the no-fly zone over Libya. The decision to involve UAE aircraft in the coalition was announced last Friday by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed.
Libya And The “International Community”: Humanitarian Imperialism, Like Colonialism, Will Come To An End
March 28, 2011
EDITORIAL: Libya and the ‘international community’
-We…need to question the term ‘international community’. Basically the term refers to powerful countries of the west led by the US. This term has been used whenever an imperialist intervention has taken place on so-called ‘humanitarian grounds’. The west continues to support autocrats in countries that do not threaten its hegemony, in fact help keep it intact, such as the House of Saud in Saudi Arabia.
-Ever since the Cold War ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world has seen a horizontal expansion of capitalism into the formerly socialist countries and under the rubric of globalisation into the rest of the world. The world’s dominant countries, who like to call themselves the ‘international community’, have set out to re-conquer the world through military means. It started with the Balkans, and via Afghanistan and Iraq, is now being witnessed in Libya. The goal is Pax Americana (global empire).
Finally Pakistan has woken up to the disastrous military intervention by the western forces in Libya. On Saturday, Pakistan’s Foreign Office expressed serious concerns over the foreign forces’ strikes on Libya.
Briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir said, “Pakistan’s position is very clear and principled. Everyone should respect a country’s sovereignty.” Mr Bashir said that the UN resolution on Libya was faulty and allowed the west to do “anything”. He further stated, “The prescription of democracy, pluralism and human rights is acceptable but it has to be done as people want and through peaceful means.”
The UN resolution on Libya is indeed faulty and quite vague. The consequences of passing such a resolution can now be seen. Even though it was not mandated in the UN resolution, the west now wants to overthrow Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The mandate of the resolution was ambiguous. We also need to question the term ‘international community’. Basically the term refers to powerful countries of the west led by the US. This term has been used whenever an imperialist intervention has taken place on so-called ‘humanitarian grounds’. The west continues to support autocrats in countries that do not threaten its hegemony, in fact help keep it intact, such as the House of Saud in Saudi Arabia. Military dictators in Pakistan were supported by the west till the time that the tide turned against those despots.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has tried to justify this war by saying, “We are beginning to see, because of the good work of the coalition, his [Gaddafi’s] troops begin to turn back toward the west — and to see the opposition begin to reclaim the ground they had lost.”
The US and its allies should know that though their attacks on Gaddafi’s forces and air force have weakened the Libyan forces, there is little possibility that Gaddafi would give up easily.
It is now clear that the west actually set out to effect a regime change in Libya as has been stated by the British and French leaders. How is it justified that if the west does not like a leader, it intervenes militarily to achieve its aims?
This is not the first time such things have happened and is unlikely to be the last. Ever since the Cold War ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world has seen a horizontal expansion of capitalism into the formerly socialist countries and under the rubric of globalisation into the rest of the world. The world’s dominant countries, who like to call themselves the ‘international community’, have set out to re-conquer the world through military means. It started with the Balkans, and via Afghanistan and Iraq, is now being witnessed in Libya. The goal is Pax Americana (global empire).
The US is on the decline as an economic power despite the triumphalism of the US after the Cold War ended in 1991. The global recession may not have affected the US’s military power, but it increasingly resembles nothing more than a colossus with feet of clay. Europe, which was seen to be the next world power, has been rendered hollow after the global recession and remains the US’s subservient ally.
Libya is a relatively weak country when it comes to the global powers but this provides no justification for attacking it.
The world today is emerging as a multi-polar world where many countries like China, India, and Brazil are now economically getting stronger. Russia, too, is re-emerging as a global power.
History’s verdict will one day be witness to the fact that like colonialism came to an end, imperialism, whether masquerading as ‘humanitarian’ or otherwise, too will not last forever. The sooner the ‘international community’ comes to terms with this fact, the better all round.